By Elvira Arellano
I think this Christmas we should pray for the rich, for the 1%. They had a bad year in 2010 with their average income dropping slightly below 1 million dollars. Although they had a better year in 2011, boosting their average income back over a million, they still feel bad and I am told suffer from frequent anxiety. You see, the world capitalist economy is slowly collapsing and that means their future possibilities are shrinking.
We know how that feels. We struggle.We work our way up from a temporary job to a full time job that pays the minimum wage. We get the rent, the utilities, the school supplies paid for every month and are able to buy one of our kids a new coat and the yearly quota of shoes as their feet never stop growing. Then the government threatens the company we work for with fines if they don’t use e-verify, checking the papers of all the workers. We get laid off. We try everywhere but can’t find even temporary work. The letters from back home in Mexico or Guatemala or Honduras keep coming, asking for money. Christmas is coming and our possibilities for survival are shrinking up to nothing.
So we know how it feels to face shrinking possibilities but I still say the rich need our prayers. We are really better off than them. Once Jesus told his disciples, “You will always have the poor.” That is because we will always survive. Our hope, our field of possibilities, comes from another source and does not depend on the world economy.
Last week my son Saulito had a birthday. Like all mothers, a birthday always makes me remember the day he was born and the days when he was a baby. Now look at him! He is so tall and strong and intelligent and handsome! I did it! And he is still growing, still creating new possibilities for himself and for our people!
The possibilities that are created by wealth cannot compare with the possibilities that are created by life. From the time I was little I always wanted a son – and God granted my prayer.
As we read the Christmas stories we celebrate the miracle birth of Jesus to Mary. We celebrate the gift of the child John the Bpatist to Elizabeth and Zechariah, who had grown old thinking they would never have a child. The birth of John and then Jesus was surrounded with the prophecy that these two little babies would grow to bring new hope to their people. They believed that they would renew the faith of a people who had grown hopeless and given up on their traditions and even their dignity. When the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to Juan diego at the worst time in the history of Mexico she called him “My dignified son!”
For us, the birth of Jesus to a family forced to migrate to a foreign country, reminds us of the blessings of our own children and the endless hope they bring to us. They are our treasure in the field for which we will give up everything else we own. They are our field of possibilities. And we know in our hearts that just as God blesses us with children so He will protect us and be with us even in the most difficult situations.
So this Christmas, if times are hard let’s turn to our children- and turn to each other. If you find yourself alone, reach out to your people and make new friends. Reach out to the people who have your same struggle and your same source of hope. If you are separated from your family, remember that your people are your family wherever you are because they have the same source of hope.
As for the 1%, pray for them. There is not much else we can do to help them.